When very young, about 4 years old, I was taught to say the prayer 'Jesus tender Shepherd hear me' every night before sleeping. In the Summer I was to say it before getting into bed. In the Winter, with no heating in the attic bedroom and ice forming on the windows, it was OK to get into bed first, then say it.
I remember finding the words vaguely comforting but not very sensible. I knew Jesus's job was to watch me sleeping - watch my sleep till morning light though I had no idea how he did that. But the line I couldn't understand was - Thou hast clothed me, warmed and fed me because I knew perfectly well that my mum had done that. I remember asking my older brother about this, but he just said - it's bad to ask things like that which didn't help at all.
So my question is, does anyone think it is appropriate to initiate children into the rituals of faith before they are old enough to understand what they are saying? Wouldn't it be better to hold back until they are of an age to understand and question? At least then we would know that faith was a genuine informed choice.
This has a deeper meaning.
"Who am I to give?
Who am I to forgive?"
Things happen through us but we are like puppets in this play and god is the guiding force behind everything.
I agree with what you are saying about allowing the child to grow up before making his choice or indoctrinating them at a young age.
We had poojas and prayer in my home when I was young but my parents never forced me to believe, the choice was left to me.
Then the parents are just guiding their kids which is their job.Some may not believe god exists but if he does then the parents are not doing something wrong by telling them about god.
I'm not sure why you would single out faith rituals among the numerous behaviors from which children should be shielded. We teach children many things when they are younger, regardless of what we think their receptivity to those things might be when they get older.
However, your reasoning makes sense if you don't think matters of faith are important. You would not be so optional about mathematics instruction, would you? How about good writing skills? Perhaps we should wait until the child is older to teach him such things so that we can be sure that his choice to be a writer is an "informed" one....
No parent who values education thinks that way. We teach them those things because we think they're important. This does not sacrifice their capacity to embrace or reject that instruction when they get older.
I'm sorry you're experience was a negative one. When I was six, our first grade teacher had us pray the Lord's Prayer every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance and singing "My Country Tis of Thee". I certainly did not understand all that that prayer implied, "hallowed be thy name" and so forth. But even though we prayed that prayer as a ritual (and I don't think the teacher was suppose to be having us pray it--this was a public school), that prayer has stayed with me through all those years. That teacher gave me a small gift, a gift that I have given to my children. Today, I have a hard time praying that prayer without my heart filling with joyful emotion as I reflect on the part it has played in my life.
Regardless of the joyful emotion we see you sharing with all and sundry, all the time,
The simple fact is that - believing in the invisible super being who burns people for not believing is a little different to just about everything else we teach our children.
I say "just about" because saying the pledge of Allegiance and then dying in battle aged 18 are on a par.
Subtle control insidiously inserted as young as possible. Sadly - it took years of work on my part to get these subtle controls out of my head. I was lucky to survive the nationalism that was inserted the same way. "God Bless The Queen!"
Of course - some people never let go of the comforting control of knowing that "some one else" is taking care of things - as long as they keep the faith. Jesus will be watching over you - or you are freeing the Iraqi people are much the same thing - once you can let go and see that the truth does indeed set you free.
Whether that be religion or national pride or racial pride or tribal pride or whatever control is inserted to keep people sheep like. As long as we continue to insert them into our young, there will always be conflicts and the human race will eventually wipe itself out. Just like your book tells you it was written to cause.
Bibowen - I think the difference between teaching faith rituals and teaching Maths and English is fairly obvious. Maths and English, at least at elementary level, are of undoubted value and in no way contentious. Also, teaching the incomprehensible doesn't seem the best way to develop comprehension.
Yes, the rudimentary elements of Math and English are. But the way that the instruction would be given would be controversial, depending upon the philosophy of education. Many parents have their children receive religious instruction so that they can receive the moral instruction contained in religion. So I think you have given us a distinction without a real difference.
What you have told us is that we should not teach children anything that others would disagree with. Why should any parent embrace such a philosophy? As far as religion's "Contention Quotient", that is dependent upon the maturity of those discussing it.
Second, there are many elements of faith that are comprehensible. Much of what is taught children in the early years are the biographies in the Bible (Moses, Daniel, Jesus, Paul, etc.) and the moral lessons we can learn from them. My observation is that these truths are easily grasped by children. Furthermore, most subjects do have some elements to them that are incomprehensible to most people. Singling out religious instruction appears arbitrary.
In the end, I think all you have provided here is that you had a negative experience with religion growing up (something I truly regret on your part) and you don't think it's very important. But my experience has been that most people don't view their past religious instruction as a negative experience; they view it as a source of strength.
You are incapable of understanding the difference between mathematics and a faith-based belief system? Come on. You are being deliberately obtuse to avoid dealing with the question.
Nonsense. He questioned the value of teaching the incomprehensible faith based rituals you people indoctrinate your children with.
I would hazard a guess that the moral lessons learned from David collecting foreskins would be better learned from Aesop's fables.
I think you need to look up the word "truth" as well. Teaching children that Noah was 800 years old is a bit of a stretch.
Coming to the conclusion that what you were spoon fed to believe as a child was invalid, false and controlling is not the same as "having a bad experience with religion."
And despite the fact that your religion is - to this very minute - causing strife and conflict - you still take the moral high ground and will not accept the validity of an alternate viewpoint. Just defending the faith.
I'm sorry that your anger management classes are having the reverse effect. You appear to be seething more, coherent less, with frequent bouts of using of the word "obtuse."
I think your next therapist should be someone that is trained in both anger management and the problems with evolutionary theory raised by observable science. That way, you could simultaneously learn about two topics that you know very little about.
Sweetheart - your condescending passive aggressive attacks are not really helping. I know that is easier than dealing with the content of my posts, but still......
And I really do recommend a decent dictionary. Honestly - if you are unable to see the difference between teaching English and teaching faith based rituals, you are either ignorant or being deliberately obtuse.
Seems to me you are more interested in defending your irrational beliefs than having a conversation.
Not really sure where the "anger" comes from? Oh - you mean I disagree with your assertions that you have the moral high ground because you believe in an invisible super being? Hmmm. Once again - a decent dictionary is in order.
The question is this:
"So my question is, does anyone think it is appropriate to initiate children into the rituals of faith before they are old enough to understand what they are saying? Wouldn't it be better to hold back until they are of an age to understand and question? At least then we would know that faith was a genuine informed choice."
Which you have deliberately avoided in favor of justifying your beliefs because they teach morals: "Many parents have their children receive religious instruction so that they can receive the moral instruction contained in religion."
So - perhaps you could address the question instead of merely - once again - attempting to justify your actions as having the moral high ground when they do not? Despite what you may think - this was not an attack on your frankly ridiculous beliefs.
Might be more productive?
I think it good to start teaching as early as possable, but any question asked should be answered truthfully. I dont belive any true faith can happen, without questioning it.
Why do you think it is good to start teaching them about this as early as possible?
Is there some harm done in allowing them to learn at a later age?
What is the benefit of starting early?
I do not think any harm is done by waiting. I meant, for children to learn knowledge, it is good to start young, as its easier to learn when your younger. I am not talking about brainwashing. I mean, letting your child know what exists, give them all possable information, teach them how to reason, and then let them make up their own minds as to what they belive.
That is not what the OP was talking about. He was talking about faith-based rituals.
Or are you saying that you would teach lots and lots of different faith based rituals from all sorts of different faiths so they can then make their mind up?
Knowledge, such as mathematics, is rather different to "Say your prayers to Jesus before you go to sleep."
i made another post somewher when i realized i had misunderstoo the op but i cant find it now. i was busy teaching my kids math...but basicaly it said the same thing as you just did, only not so nicely. i intend to teach my children what ritual exist, i think they should have knowledge. what they do with it is up to them.
after rereading some earlier posts, I suppose I did not accurately answer the orignal question.
I dont think there is any need to ever teach mindless rituals. of any sort. I thought this was about the ideas and theologies of religon or non religion. sorry.
It is prudent to NOT establish any for of religious ritual, while a child is still developing their own system for understanding. They need to be able to understand and make their own step toward that.
I have two nieces and they had one parent 'catholic' and one parent 'jewish', yet neither one have any form of religious belief, because mom and dad, couldn't get on the same page.
I had to make them understand that some people worship a "GOD" that supposedly watches over all of mankind and when I explained it to them- Each said to me- Yeah, right!
They didn't want to take me serious, until they both realized on their own that millions of people were really caught up in the mystical teachings of religion. Now, whenever they hear people talking about "god" or 'religion', they simply sit back and watch what happens, without interjecting anything.
With that said- they actually find it extremely funny, how people are about their belief and they both are of the idea that people refuse to open their eyes and look around.
They came to their own conclusion that people enjoy the mystical comfort they receive from their belief, but also realized that they are not bright enough to guide their own life, so they have become submissive to a higher power.
With that said- Have a Great Day!
hi Dave, maybe because it is one way where religiuos groups can get followers, like bloodline
Just yesterday I was talking to my brother on the phone. He has been living out west for over 25 years and has a family, two boys, 17 and 19. Both had the flu, one recovered, the other one still trying to recover. During our conversation we talked about the H1N1 scare and some of the semi conspiracy theories around it that everyone seems to be talking about. He mentioned some of the same ones that I had heard and read about before I did. He was concerned about the safety of his family. I just happened to mention that it is a good time to make good with God. My brother, as myself was raised Catholic but he has not been practicing it or has not had his boys even Baptized. He basically admitted that he has not been responsible to his family in this matter. It seems there is no talk of God in their home. Then he said it would be hard to introduce it to them after all this time. Seeing I gave all my nieces and nephews a Bible last Christmas I'm sure our next conversation will include this.
So yes I think it is appropriate to initiate children into the rituals of faith before they are old enough to understand what they are.
Regarding "Thou hast clothed me, warmed and fed me" it reminds me of one of my first hunting experiences with my father. Walking through the woods I remember dad saying "isn't it nice that God gave us all of this." Obviously seeing a questioned look on my face dad finished by saying "everything we have originates from God." That put a smile on my face. Dad loved the out doors but I remember more than once that his gun jammed when he had a big buck in his sights.
Again related to this, myself and a friend used to go trout fishing before he moved out west. We know some beauty spots. I remember for some reason the conversation would always lead to God. He was the one always bringing it up. While sitting on the side of a nice trout stream he'd say "this is God's church, it's not the people that gather in those buildings." I'd say "it's both."
It sounds like you had a nice upbringing Paraglider. Do you remember the full prayer? You must have felt that the words were comforting.
Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me;
Bless Thy little lamb tonight;
Through the darkness be Thou near me;
Watch my sleep till morning light.
All this day thy hand has led me,
And I thank Thee for Thy care;
Thou hast clothed me, warmed and fed me,
Listen to my evening prayer.
Let my sins be all forgiven;
Bless the friends I love so well;
Take me, when I die, to Heaven,
Happy there with Thee to dwell.
I hope you feel better Make Money.
Wonderful how you ignored what the OP said in favor of pushing your religious agenda.
What a shame it is all talk no walk...
Made any young girls feel guilty about their choices today?
YOu religionists really are incapable of hearing anything aren't you? As long as you push your hate filled religion? That is what counts.
Too bad your brothers kids can make their own mind up instead of being indoctrinated early. It must be very frustrating for you to know that.
You would think your invisible super being could have made himself known to them without needing to .... Wait a minute.
I was replying to Paraglider. Not you. And mind your own business regarding my brothers kids.
If you do not want to discuss your brother's kids - it is probably not a great idea to bring the subject up on a public discussion forum.
I can see how frustrating it is for you that they are being left to make their own choices rather than being indoctrinated into your irrational belief system as early as possible. I agree - it is much harder to get them indoctrinated at a later age when they can think for themselves.
Odd that you tell me to mind my own business rather than address the point I make that - if your invisible super being wants them to start attacking other people's choices and spreading the christian war mongering - he will tell them directly into their head to start doing so. No?
Mike - I'm still questioning the difference between observing the rituals and taking part in them. I have no problem with children being made aware of their parents' beliefs, or perhaps I should say being made aware that their parents hold some beliefs, but the question (which you answered in the affirmative) was whether it it is helpful to enlist youngsters in rituals they can't fully understand.
By analogy: I think it is great for children to hear music from the earliest age. I'm less convinced that it's great to decide to put a child through the Suzuki method of violin training from age 2. Yes, this can produce great violinists, but in whose best interest?
Now, I see religion and theology as very akin to the Arts - i.e irrational pursuits which nevertheless can give purpose and fulfillment to life. But like the arts, the choice to take part should, I think, be personal.
(Thanks for the personal stories in your post. All taken on board!)
Your welcome. It's just that it is important to a lot of parents. Children can decide to either keep it or walk away when they are older if they want. A lot do walk away in their adolescence but then come back as they get older.
Odd that you are unable to understand that what is "important" to the parents, can be damaging to the children. Every one can see that getting your children to believe and be frightened of the same things you are is important to religionists.
A lot do walk away permanently when they are able to think for themselves. More and more people are moving away from believing in god. Simply because it makes sense. And we are making some noise about it for good reason. I know you do not care how difficult it is to get this idea out of your head when it is placed there at such a young age - but let's be honest - spreading what you believe is far, far, far more important than anyone's feelings. Right?
The god fearing believers are fighting back against the humanist movement though and do not like it when people do not believe in their god.
Death threats against the owner of a building that sported a sign saying, "Don't Believe In God? You are not alone."
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2009/11/ … 258091561/
My favorite rant from a believer is the Florida man who phoned Atheists of Florida and said. "If God doesn't exist, then why does the constitution say 'In God We Trust',"
http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/local … 0GaUg.cspx
As Gracious October so accurately stated - It is much more difficult to think for oneself if you religionists can ingrain these irrational fears and beliefs into people at a young age.
Which is why god instructed you to do it.
That's a good one. It's almost as good as the millions that believe that "separation of church and state" is actually in the Constitution of the United States....
Fortunately people can read between the lines and this was clearly intended. Otherwise people like you would be writing the laws and running the country.
One of the good things about none of you religionists ever being able to agree what the invisible super being wants and having such obviously atrocious moral standards, I suppose.
Each little church was worried another church would have some government control so none of you got any.
Thank goodness. Probably still have slaves and divorce would be punishable by death.
The founding fathers were brilliant.
"Tell them the government will never be able to have a hand in religion. They are too stupid to understand it will be a two way street,"
Hey genius why do you think six million African Muslims convert to Christianity each year? How many do you think convert to your atheistic religion? 2?
What a ridiculous statement. The McDonalds argument. 6 million ignorant peasants a year are switching from one irrational belief system to another so the pope can kill them by persuading them condoms are evil......... Great.
Your ridiculous belief system has always appealed to uneducated peasants. That is why there are so many of you in favor of not educating people. Educated people are moving away in droves because once you have a basic grasp of current scientific knowledge and shave studied a little history - it is clear your belief system is holding us back - morally, educationally and scientifically.
Biblical thinking is responsible for almost all of the problems we face today. "Have faith - it will be OK" - therefore you are not responsible and do not need to do anything. Apathetic people such as yourself can then devote your energy to trying to get other ignorant uneducated people to join your cult by making them feel guilty about their personal choice.
That way you do not have to examine yourself. Ever. It is always some one else.
Yes and no - this is such a great question. My children did not understand the Lord's Prayer at a young age, nor the meaning, so the point of saying it with them was mute. They probably didn't understand that Jesus loves them. They did understand Mom & Dad loved them unconditionally & that was perfect for me.
My parents started teaching us the Catholic rituals at a young age, I had no clue what most of it meant until I was older. I also didn't make faith choices until I was much older, I chose to leave the Catholic church.
My kids both read the Bible and are both teens. They will discuss what they've read. My daughter reads into it much deeper, and has since she began to understand her faith.
I think they will both make their own choices and I will be fine with their choices, because I too, made choices.
yes, i agree. religion should be introduced later until they have critical thinking or just like you said in an age to understand and question. it should be... ideally
Your brother could not answer you because the concept and theme of Jesus (peace be upon him) presented by christians is illogical and opposite to what Jesus (pbuh) himself said. Your question was very relevant. And there is no bad in educating children the general every day rituals and prayers which Allah has prescribed for mankind.
Salam. You and I seem to agree on this very important point. I see you directed your comment to Paraglider and I think he will surely reply for himself. However, if I may inject...
I am nasrani. I am sincerely interested in learning about the concepts and themes presented by Christians that you think are illogical and opposite to what Jesus himself said. Would you share just a few of them with me? I would very much like to hear about them in your words.
Wa alaikum salam!
The 3 major concepts of christianity
JESUS (peace be upon him)'s DEATH
Jesus Christ (pbuh) never claimed any of the above.
"I and the Father are one. If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father". (Jesus speaking)!
I would say that pretty definitively states the opposite.
He was crucified BECAUSE He claimed equality/one-ness with (God) the Father. That's a clear claim to Deity/Divinity.
And, BTW, is risen from the dead, so He is NOT dead, as you claim.
John 10:30, I and my Father are one.
This verse is often took out of context and given the self made interpretations.
For context, you have to go to the Gospel of John, Ch. No.10,
Verse No. 23, that ‘Jesus walked into the temple, in Solomon’s porch’.
Verse No. 24 says, and the Jews came around him and asked him. ‘How long does thou make us doubt? - If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly’.
Verse No.25 says, ‘I told you, but you believe me not - the works that I do in my father’s name, - they bear witness of me.
Verse No.26 says that, ‘you believe not because you are not my sheep, as I said unto you’. The Jews, they are asking Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) that ‘Why don’t you speak plainly?’. So he tells them that…‘Yes I am the Messiah - I have told you clearly, but because you are not my sheep, you don’t believe in me.
Verse No.27 continues…Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) continues saying that… ‘My sheep - they hear my voice, and I know them - and they follow me.
Verse No.28, that… ‘I give them eternal life - no man can pluck them out of my hand, and they shall not perish’.
Verse No.29 says ‘My father who giveth to me, He is greater than all - No man can pluck them out of my father’s hand. Then
Verse No. 30 says, ‘I and my father are one’ – ‘Any person who has little bit sense can make out, ‘I and my father are one’ doesn’t mean one - as one person. It means one is purpose. Both Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and Almighty God - they are one in purpose i.e. the purpose of showing the truth, guiding the people, delivering the message. If I say that my father is an Engineer … and he is an Engineer… Alhamdulillah - Even I am an Engineer. If I say, ‘I and my father are one’ - What does it mean? It means one in purpose - As Engineering profession, my father is an Engineer - Even I am an Engineer. It doesn’t mean that ‘I and my father are one’ -In person. It means my father is an Engineer - even I am an Engineer
So, Allah and Jesus (pbuh) were one in purpose, not one in person.
Nope. Because Faith, or at least the knowledge of the availability of true Faith, isn't just a ritual. It's a legacy that should begin being passed down to our children from birth.
I believe that not only is there an innate, inborn, ability to understand the concept of God, but there's also that thing called conscience that lets us know right from wrong. Children are spiritual beings from birth, not just "natural" beings, because God Himself breathed life into the first man, and so, by default, goes that action on down the line.
I agree that we are able to distinguish right from wrong, though it does no harm to awaken that sense which can lie dormant if not stimulated. I also agree that with consciousness comes what we can call spirituality. This, I think, manifests itself in our appreciation of the natural world, the arts, etc. I see theology as one of the venerable arts that brings comfort to many, as does music. But that's as far as I can take it, seeing no reason to believe in a God.
A child development starts from age zero. We start to form their personality, values and principles at an early age. I suggests that you can expose them to your family religion and beliefs. In this way, you help prepare them to face the bigger world. However, you can give them a leeway to choose their own when they are already old enough to understand. You can guide them but you cannot control them. Have a great week!
first you say that you form you children's personality in an early age.Which is a way of control
then you say that you cannot control your child .
so what is it ?
you can control or you can't ?
And weekend is ages from today!
Anyway have a good weekend !
But are you helping them if you encourage them to believe what they can't understand? Or are you risking damaging their ability to think for themselves? Of course you have to give guidance to children, but is it acceptable to ask them to mimic faith? I think not.
But this is how they get you. This sort of early indoctrination is very, very difficult to break free from.
Loyola had it down. It will take generations to break free from this religiosity we are forced to suckle as babes.
To be fair to my parents, there was no force involved. I know plenty people who were catechized with a leather belt (literally beaten for not knowing the right responses, by Irish nun teachers in West Scotland Catholic schools). This is clearly abuse by any measure. But what I'm talking about is far more subtle. It could be called cultural. And as a matter of fact, western literature is incomprehensible without a knowledge of the beliefs prevalent when it was written.
My feeling is that the beliefs should be taught as information (some people believe x, others y) but not as fact, and not until the child is old enough to evaluate them rationally.
I don't think it's appropriate to initiate children, but as you know the delusion of religion is so compelling that people won't be able to stop themselves from baptising and telling these lies to their children as soon as possible, because they, most likely, received the same initiation.
And even if the parents don't, society will step in and do the initiation. Given most children no chance at having a choice later in life.
getitrite - I don't think you can call something a lie just because it is not true, in cases where the teller believes it true. I think lying implies deliberate deceit, not simple error.
Paraglider, you are correct- lying implies deliberate deceit, not simple error.
How ever, the religions and all religious text is out-of-context, therefore- it is a lie.
All religions and occult disciplines are based on Enlightenment.
True Enlightenment is Consciousness of Oneself. To realize your ability and potential, and accept your life, to create a purpose for oneself, and to maintain honest relations with your inner-conscience and in dealings with others.
When you VALUE life and others see YOU value others' life, then the Wars will end and more people will realize that they are responsible for all thoughts and actions.
To know or obtain Enlightenment is be ONE with yourself, loving every aspect of your life. This will give you everything you seek in life.
I remember as a child when my father brought me a ilustrated bible for children:)) Till than, all I knew about biblical events was from movies, and that small bible full of colerfull pictures was somothing that I joyfully read:)) I'd say you start step by step! If children are very sensitive than make sure you don't scare tham with big words:)
Yes!you should be careful not to scare them from 'believing ' !
Way to miss the point. NIce
Or were you being ironic?
Don't scare them with Boogeymen either. Or demons or devils. Or pestulance. Or the wrath of God.
I would guess that you have spent more time thinking about your question than I have about my answer. Yet, I will offer a three-part response for your consideration: Yes, No, and I would hope so.
1. Is it “appropriate to initiate children into the rituals of faith before they are old enough to understand what they are saying?” Yes, in deed. I assume that those doing the initiating are parents, or their surrogates, who are mature adults who have questioned and fully understand the spiritual ethics they themselves use to guide their own lives. If they truly believe these same ethics will benefit their children then they are indeed obligated to instill these beliefs as early in the child’s development as is practical. Their duty to teach, train, and rear follows closely behind their responsibility to feed and nourish.
2. “Wouldn't it be better to hold back until they are of an age to understand and question?” I think it would not. A child can begin to develop the habit of daily prayer even though he may not fully understand why he needs to pray at all. Further, should a child be denied a seat at a Seder because she is too young to fully understand all of the symbols relating to her family’s rich heritage? Even if parts of the Koran are still beyond his comprehension, a young man can certainly learn to make time in his life to attend services at his Mosque.
3. “Then we would know that faith was a genuine informed choice.” To which I reply, “I would hope so.” Every child, I hope, will reach a level of maturity at which they should question and understand the principles taught to them by their parents and, from that process, they should adopt the spiritual ethics they will use to guide them in their future. I have seen no research that suggests early religious training damages one’s ability to think. That is not saying that parental, cultural, or social pressures do not exist. Nor do I subscribe to the notion that it is very, very difficult to break free from early religious training. For if this was true, the United States would see church attendance increasing every year which, as we know, it is not. On the contrary, there appears to be a trend here in which former church members are rejecting some of the rites and tenets endorsed by their parents. While they are accused from the pulpit of practicing cafeteria style religion, they are, in fact, making a genuine choice. How informed these choices are, however, may be the subject of another question at another time.
Q - good response, thank you. Your use of the phrase 'spiritual ethics' is an interesting one. I am in no doubt about the value of teaching basic ethics from the earliest stages in a child's development, but not convinced by the need to link understandable ethics to mystical concepts. (In fact this is the subject of my newest hub - you might care to visit). You see, I think there is a danger that some, unable to accept the metaphysical aspects, reject the whole package, simply because it has been presented as a package. Whereas Ethics does not require a religious framework.
I created the phrase ‘spiritual ethics’ to label those standards of conduct and moral judgment that you implied should not be introduced to children before they can fully understand them. You identify two types of ethics: “basic” and “understandable”. Perhaps I should either change my “spiritual” ethics to “non-understandable” ethics to make it an extension on your 2-part set, or just call them rituals and ignore the their potential to guide the conduct and judgment of some adults.
While I respect your doubts about the value of faith based rituals for the very young, I have my own doubts about the wisdom of disparaging them solely because they are not universally accepted. Faith based rituals may be extremely valuable in adult life particularly when introduced during the early stages of development. As yet, I see no damage to a child’s psyche if sincere, dedicated and conscientious parents instruct their children, like I was, to “go to bed, brush your teeth, and say your prayers.” I sincerely believe that children so trained are neither “brain washed” nor indoctrinated against their will. At sometime during their journey through life they are free to choose which, if any, of these learned behaviors they choose to modify. (BTW, I still brush my teeth.)
"Ethics does not require a religious framework." I certainly agree with that statement. However, a house does not require a heating plant, either, but having one can make it a much better place in which to live.
I did not mean to create a two part division. I talked first about basic ethics. Later, I suppose I should have said 'ethics, which are understandable' instead of 'understandable ethics'. My distinction is that true ethics make no appeal to metaphysical concepts or extra-societal authority. They are therefore understandable in a way that 'the Holy Ghost' is not. The latter you either take or leave.
I agree with you that in most cases no great harm is done by encouraging children to pray or say grace, but I think harm can be done by (perhaps tacitly) promoting the notion that morality and/or ethics comes from God. For example, it can lead those who continue in the faith to look down on non-believers as immoral, or it can lead those who reject the faith to reject the ethical aspects too, in an all or nothing gesture.
I believe even the animals in the wild begin to teach their offspring social conduct in the pride or flock, etc...it's part of survival of the species to organize the culture to insure survival, even if one prefers not to be "religious" children who believe there are strong consequences for behavior that supercedes their fallible parents teaches them the value of self-control and socially acceptable interaction.
Very well put DEE DEE and this is fact, not fiction.
I don't think animal behaviour is the best model to use, since we are unique among animals in being able to discuss ethical questions, which is what we are doing here. Children can be taught that their actions have consequences and (later) that their parents are fallible, all without recourse to metaphysical concepts that they may not be able to understand.
Just perhaps echoing what other people have said here, Paraglider--I think there is a way to communicate religion in a cultural way to kids without indoctrination. I feel my parents did an OK job with this...perhaps because my father was much more of a cynic when it came to religion that my mother, lol. I got both perspectives (my mother was Catholic, and I was raised Catholic).
I just do not feel that learning a cultural faith tradition has to equal what we all hate (or most moderate people do) about religion...not all turn out as 'religionists,' ie.
But absolutely, I feel that ultimately it is the child's decision to find out what they believe spiritually and that their minds should be opened to all possibilities (the best teaching).
What an unbelievably arrogant, presumptuous, illogical, and ridiculous thing to say.
The worst of the liberal mindset...
What a stupid thing to say. Suppose I have to spell it out, again: You are looking for arguments where there are none. I am NOT interested in stupidity.
Tolerance of religion (or lack there of) is the foundation this country was built on. I was brought up in a traditional Catholic way. What I believe and think is MY business.
Lita and Mohit - thanks for these responses. I think we are largely agreeing that it is a matter of degree. For example, I see nothing wrong with parents continuing their traditions e.g. of asking a blessing before meals, in the child's presence. If the child is interested, s/he will ask about it in time. But I think that's a level below telling the child - remember to say your prayers before you get into bed.
(BTW - I'm not complaining about my upbringing; my parents were both great, PBUT)
I think this is a great and interesting discussion! Paraglider, I enjoy your thoughtfulness. I have five kids, 3 of whom are "all grown up" now. I have concluded, from watching my own kids, that they all come to a point where they stop just nodding thier head at whatever Mom and Dad said, and take a look themselves at what THEY believe. They go through a "soul searching" time so to speak. I am certain all parents want thier children to believe as they do. even atheist guy. But people do make all thier own choices. what resounds with them as truth is what they will hold to. They may even keep searching for years and years. No one can "force" anyone to believe. They can be forced to "act" a certain way, but in our heart of hearts we still make our own choices.
So - you are of the opinion that indoctrinating children with some thing they are incapable of understanding is a good thing and will not cause any damage later in life as they start to question the validity of the false belief system?
And you do not think that this is "forcing" in any way. Even though the children cannot make their own decisions until much, much later in life. What - say 16 years old?
"Resounds" ? LOL
Get them young huh? Then what "resounds" for them will be what you told them in the cradle.
I want my children to think for themselves - if that means converting to some religious system - that is their choice. But I can see most believers seem to want not only their children, but anyone else they come in contact with, to believe what they believe. That is why they start feeding them this stuff at an early age.
You should read Loyola. Then you would be better able to understand what you did to your children - and why - should they ever start thinking for themselves and decide to not believe it - it will cause such ill will.
Well, the discussion has moved on quite a lot while I was at work, so I won't go back and pick up all the points, but thanks, all, for contributing.
@Bibowen, I was not complaining of a 'negative experience' in my early childhood. And in fact I made a point of saying:
"BTW - I'm not complaining about my upbringing; my parents were both great, PBUT"
But let me chuck this Boolean formulation into the discussion:
IF you do NOT teach children about God,
AND IF God exists,
THEN God will surely introduce himself when the time is right.
IF you do teach children about God
AND IF God does NOT exist
THEN you have done a disservice to young minds.
For this reason, I suggest that the best approach is NOT to teach children about God, but to leave the introduction to God himself, if he exists. Would that not be the fairest way all round?
Probably. However, I honestly do not think that children or any human beings are empty vessels necessarily to be filled. A parent's teaching may affect a child in numerous ways and they most likely will still seek that experience they are capable of experiencing.
I do not usually get into these things, as the discussions here scare me, but... You know Nietzsche intimates that the real problem humanity has is not necessarily with any concept of the divine, but with an ascetic notion of denial...and a counterpoint ascetic who seeks to replace the divine with the same sort of will-denying moral structure that by its opposite nature is still bound to this notion of a denial of will (often atheism). Therefore, both put a complete faith into an idea that one notion has a higher ideal than other ideals...and both are as naive as the other, because the grounding of both is in a simple morality.
The notion of the divine for some perhaps is then found in a new value from this same old dichotomy--which is beyond the range of individual human experiences and a notion of good and evil...or of good service or bad service.
Anyway. What I think is that the old religious traditions are pretty...beautiful sometimes...as elements of culture. And although I learned all the traditional stories and myths, I feel now as I felt when I was actually a teenager--that those were just that--stories told to a young race (at best). Although I feel there is knowledge to be had in the rituals, it certainly is incomplete sometimes for notions of human morality as it is absolutely incomplete for any honest conception of the divine. And none of this came from indoctrination or 'teaching' either.
"As elements of culture" - that is exactly what I think too. If we are to understand our culture, we have to understand, but not necessarily share, the beliefs of our antecedents.
I had a great primary school teacher when I was about seven who used to say things like "People used to believe that God created the world in six days". We got all the stories and imagery but were not required to believe it. A bit like King Arthur, in fact.
If you know anything about Christianity or Judaism, you know that parents are told to instruct their children in the knowledge of the Lord regularly, from the time they are young. So your first formulation isn't an option, at least not to Jews and Christians who are serious about obeying God.
As for your second formulation, if God does not exist, but we teach children that there is one, then what we teach them does not matter. Morals and ethics are reduced to mere preferences. So, you teach your children how you want to teach yours; I’ll teach mine the way I want to teach mine. After all, who are you to judge how I raise my children?
So, in your first formulation, we are disobeying God; in your second one, you are making much ado about nothing, just sticking your nose in other people’s business where it doesn’t belong.
Unfortunately,I know that is true and know that some take this injunction more seriously than others.'Mere preferences? I hardly think so. Consensually derived guidelines are not whimsical.
You have such a charming way of speaking to people.
The problem with your second formulation is that there is no good reason to obey these "guidelines" which you prescribe. So I do believe, regardless of the process, the guidelines are arbitrary.
Also, don't be offended by the last comment. You said the scenario was "if God does not exist." But I don't believe that that is the condition we are under. In a universe where God does exist, your ideas are important and have eternal consequences. If someone is doing something wrong as it pertains to children, you might have a moral obligation to speak out and perhaps even intervene. But I don't see how operating beyond your own self-interest is necessary given atheistic ethics.
No. The fact that most societies the world over are in closer agreement over ethics than over the nature of God is evidence that Ethics come from our common humanity, not from any external source.
Two things - I am not atheist. If forced to apply a label, I am rationalist. But even allowing for your misunderstanding, it is very presumptuous of you to assume that christians have an interest in society while atheists have only self-interest. That shows a basic lack of understanding of humanity.
I don’t think you’ve said anything here that negates my claim. Saying that our ethics come from our “common humanity” (whatever that means) does not address the issue of whether or not you can have ethics that are merely grounded in consensus. Such ethics are “agreements” and if they are only rooted in our consensus, they are neither necessary nor binding. A world of your second formulation provides no right, but only power. In other words, what you're calling "ethics" really aren't ethics at all.
Second, I want to know how you could ever know that there is greater agreement about ethics than about God’s nature. Are you counting propositional statements of agreement v. disagreement or are you counting the number of people who agree v. disagree? And besides, how could you ever count something like this?
Third, I’m puzzled about the phrase “our common humanity.” As a rationalist, I assume you embrace some positivist epistemology, which would seem to render a concept like “our common humanity” as meaningless. You’re claiming that it’s the source of our common ethical sense, but its nonempirical character suggests that it can’t be doing the heavy lifting in your claim.
Fourth, how does greater agreement over ethics v. God provide any evidence that those sentiments are internal rather than external? Furthermore, why does it need be one or the other? It could be that the “moral sense” that we share is the conspiracy of one. Besides, if we are talking about the God of the Bible, he isn’t “external.”
So, I don’t think your statement has even touched my claim that ethics in your second formulation are not possible. You’re calling them “ethics” but what you are really talking about is “agreement.”
Dude - that is the funniest thing you have said.
1. You are just doing as god told you, therefore are not responsible for any detrimental results.
2. You think some one who clearly has a more highly developed and considered sense of moral responsibility than you is "sticking their nose in other people's business where it doesn't belong."
Which is rich coming from some one who teaches about Christianity and spends so much time arguing that he has morals that atheists could not even begin to understand.
Especially when the original post was from personal experience.
What we have on this thread is an extremely powerful argument for not indoctrinating children into religious cults by teaching them faith based rituals they cannot understand. I mean - lets face it - you would be hard pushed to define god - and the various christian cults have spend the last 1800 years fighting wars over that question.
I also speak from personal experience that having been indoctrinated into the christian mind set at a young age - it is extremely difficult to get their war mongering ideas out of my head at a later age when I was able to think properly for myself and found myself hampered by the "I am better because I believe" attitude that you people wear like a badge of honor - and seem unable to grasp why this is offensive to others.
I think there is nothing wrong with introducing children to many different cultures and beliefs.....allowing them to make their determinations on their beliefs when they are able. As with everything, a child is a blank slate....whatever is written on that slate is carried with them forever....for good or for bad. There are too many children that don't have anything to believe in....not their parents, not their neighbors, NOTHING, because their slate is blank and it's very very sad to see children shooting one another because they fail in believing in something, if not only themselves. Just a thought.
No person of any age should be indoctrinated with this ninth rate dribble!
Q & Lita - these are posts I will respond to, but am just starting work. Time zones, you know...
I was taught the bedtime prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep", which included the words, "if I should live another day" (or some people, "if I should die before I wake") - that's just creepy and scary for a kid to think about before going to sleep. ("Let's just make kids worry that they're going to go to sleep and never wake up." )
I've never been a fan of pre-written prayers. I think if people believe in God they ought to think up their own things to say to Him, as if he were a friend. (Imagine if we had a friend and just kept reciting the same poem, written by someone else, to him/her over and over again. )
Right to all of that Lisa! I was a kid who prayed "If I should die before I wake..." weird. It didn't scare me though. I am glad I was not deprived of the knowledge of Gods love as a child. That truth kept me through many difficult times, and I have passed it on to my kids with no regrets.
decomposing figs under the tree are intresting and a sweet slumber under under that tree is sweetest of all.
Paraglider, I think it is the parents job to expose their child(ren) to whatever their religion or traditions are. Often times parents will even have differing religions, that will allow a child to be exposed to more than one religion right from the get go. However, I do not that that the parent should try to teach their child that their belief is the only belief. It is only our job to teach what we know and offer guidance. But a day will come when the child is old enough to make their own mind up about their personal beliefs. The parent just offers the foundation, I think.
I agree completely. Kids gotta start off from someplace. The least that parents can do is to pick the spot to build the launch pad.
I tend to agree with you, Caranoelle. If parents truly believe certain faith-based rituals will benefit their children in later life, I see no harm in introducing them early. The children will have plenty of time later to decide which to retain and which to discard. Any person who finds they had trouble deciding which to keep and which to discard ought to consider that their problem may be something other than early exposure.
I do think it's important to teach the children these things even though they can not fully grasp what they are saying if it is put into action the children i think have a better understanding. We are constantly telling children not to hit eachother that its not nice but telling that to a child who is at a physical stage of growing up may seem sensless until a year or so passes and that child sees another child who is younger and going through that phase and they say no hitting its not nice then we begin to understand why certain things are being included and programed into our minds. when a seed is planted and watered it's hard to pull it from the ground once it has taken root. i hope this answer helps a bit. blessings.
Bibowen - I have already written three hubs on developing a code of ethics suitable for introducing to junior school children. I am not going to rewrite them here but you are welcome to check them out.
The core of your objection is that you believe ethics come from God or else they are arbitrary.
I have said that that cannot be true, because basic ethics are shared by most non-psychopathic people the world over, even though they believe in different Gods, or none.
You say such ethics are 'agreements' as if agreement were a bad thing?? You would rather have 'commandments' with no responsibility in their formulation. Choosing to follow 'commandments' is your right, but requiring others to do so is not.
Your insistence that what I call ethics is mere 'agreement' is strange. After all, what we call jam is also 'mere' agreement. It is generally agreed to include fruit and sugar, but not to include flour, yeast and salt. So we have agreement - this is jam; that is bread. We agree without appeal to the Jam God. So it is with ethics. Ethics is a human invention. Ask the ancient Greeks.
Yes. I was going to actually write a response when I saw Bibowen's, as I am reading a book pertaining to this discussion right now. But your statement about ancient Greeks pretty much sums it up. The human conception of what is 'good vs. evil' predates Christianity...and is not limited to thinkers who base their theory in a God.
Absolutely true. I don't see how any one can deny that, but some do try
Absolutely true. I don't see how any one can deny that, but some do try
Absolutely true. I don't see why some believers deny that, because the ethical common ground is not contradictory to any major religion and they can still have their faith layer on top if they want.
My problem with your comparison between agreement over ethics v. God’s existence (BTW How about placing them on the same level of comparision like “agreement over the existence of ethics v. agreement over the existence of God”) is that you have no way of knowing this. So, repeating it adds no force to your claim.
You stated, "I have said that that cannot be true, because basic ethics are shared by most non-psychopathic people the world over, even though they believe in different Gods, or none."
But my point is not that "belief in God" produces this shared experience of common ethics. Rather, it is God that instills His moral law in the heart of man as is mentioned in Romans 2. That is a possibility in your first scenario. Of course, in your second scenario, ethics could not come from God since He does not exist. At any rate, from what you stated, there is no reason why we must reject the claim that our collective "moral sense" comes from God. In fact, my claim would be that the search for ethics is illusory without appeal to God. You're not going to surmount the problem of trying to get "oughtness" from mere agreement.
Your concern seems to be with the mode of ethical transmission (i.e. they came from the Greeks) which is irrelevant as to whether or not we have any duty to obey those ethical guidelines that we use in rearing children. Furthermore, whether or not they are agreed upon by many people is useless in establishing whether or not they are necessary and binding. What kind of ethical instruction is this to children?: “it’s right because we decided it was so by consensus.”
Next, I was not attacking "agreement" per se, but any notion that ethics can be grounded in a consensus. The prohibitive weight that comes from a statement like "don't rape another person" does not originate from agreement. The "wrongness" to rape is unphased by agreement. Raping another person is wrong whether or not we agree on the proposition.
Next, your analogy about jam and bread fails because you’re simply dealing with the labeling of objects that have certain properties. But when considering ethics, we are not merely attaching a label to a particular act: "that is a homicide, while this is petty theft." Rather, we are also judging the relationships between objects. When we say "rape is wrong," we are not merely attaching a label based on our agreement to the statement. There is more to it: there is a prohibition behind it that says "you can't do this." It has the force of a rule, a commandment. That’s the kind of instruction that children need when they are young and you’re not going to get that by appeal to mere consensus.
Finally, the power of your illustration was not completely lost: after reading, I could only think of bread and jam. So, I fear that your illustration only had the effect of promoting hunger to all that passed this way.
BTW, Sourdough, lightly toasted, with raspberry or strawberry preserves.
Any sensible parent says "I say you cannot do that," and does not need to use the threat of eternal damnation by an invisible super scary monster - or whatever else it is you use to frighten children into believing what you believe.
You are more concerned with making sure your children believe what you believe than with their well being and behavior. There is no need to use the threat of a "higher authority" with a child unless you feel the child will not obey you.
But the simple fact is - it is much, much more effective if you can get them believing in the scary monster before they are able to think properly for themselves.
How sad - because this is more for your benefit than theirs.
Not to mention unethical and morally questionable.
I don't think so. I think Bibowen will be back soon to explain the qualitative differences between ethics and jam.
He is hard to talk to because if ethics only come from god - well, everyone else is an unethical scutter incapable of controlling their base impulses.
Atheists are even incapable of love according to his hubs.
I only just got here.
Still waiting on your research though.
I think you lost me or I've have been posting way too much?
What research on what topic?
Please refresh memory?
Your research that shows humanity was not "conscious" at the time of Jesus. Because my research tells me we have really not changed much in that respect over the last 2,000 years.
And what do you mean by conscious?
Its not just children who have belief systems that are unsympathetic to life thrust upon them. We all do.
One great problem is that our political and economic leaders are such such a bizarre group of people. They have risen to the top on the basis of ruthlessness and selfish pursuit of their own interests.
They can't conceive that the bulk of humanity are co-operative, empathic and genuinely care about other people. Ideas like social Darwinism, Original Sin and Games Theory are a poison which enters into our lives from those who believe they understand the evil that is humanity.
The reality is that what sustains most people in psychological health is the belief that their relationships have meaning and they themselves are useful and meaningful to others.
The more the myth of the selfish individual is pushed on the world, the truer it becomes as more and more people despair and turn in on themselves and the pointless short lived thrills of consumption.
Will, I agree with that. There is no doubt that the lack of ethics among the power-crazed is the greatest threat to the majority.
But this discussion is (or was) more about the effect of introducing religious rituals to very young children. Do you have a position on that?
Sorry Paraglider it is such a difficult question. I thought going off at a slight tangent would be easier.
But if you wan't to know what i really think- I couldn't blame a parent who teaches young children their religious beliefs. Its a very secular position to suggest a parent should wait until the individual is grown up.
What I would say is that a parent who passes on ideas of original sin, of sexuality being evil, of any ideas that are anti-life (plenty of those in Abrahamic religions)is guilty of a great crime.
The prayer you remember and was confused by doesn't seem to fall into that category and I think most of what religious people pass on to children is meant to be positive and usually in reality, is. Besides, parents are human and need to express themselves in their family lives as in everything else. They also want their children to participate in their culture as fully as possible.
We are all burdened with sifting through what our families pass down to us to decide what is good and what is not. Its part of the human condition.
I wouldn't have been so sanguine twenty years ago.
I became a lot more tolerant of religion after living in a Buddhist society for a long time. People pour their goodness into their religious activities in a way that I didn't understand before.
Also religion is one of the few meaningful shared social activities that is not economic. It is worth nurturing for that reason alone. Work in our late capitalist societies not only determines social status, it increasingly determines personal identity. In fact, work seeks to dominate all of life. Religion resists the mechanization of humanity. It adds another dimension to life.
Its not just children who have belief systems that are unsympathetic to life thrust upon them. We all do.
One great problem is that our political and economic leaders are such such a bizarre group of people. They have risen to the top on the basis of ruthlessness and selfish pursuit of their own interests.
They can't conceive that the bulk of humanity are co-operative, empathic and genuinely care about other people. Ideas like social Darwinism, Original Sin and Games Theory are a poison which enters into our lives from those who believe they understand the evil that is humanity.
The reality is that what sustains most people in psychological health is the belief that their relationships have meaning and they themselves are useful and meaningful to others.
The more the myth of the selfish individual is pushed on the world, the truer it becomes as more and more people despair and turn in on themselves and the pointless short lived thrills of consumption.
@Bibowen - you are setting up a false antithesis. I observe that non-psychopathic ethics are largely shared by people the world over. I don't really mind where people think these ethics arise from. Some think they come from a God (inevitably from their God of course!) Others think they have worked them out all by themselves. Others think they are intuitive, from nature. Others that they are consensual, from society. Society, of course, includes 'all of the above'.
Your apparent belief, that a large majority could not be found who would agree that rape is wrong, is a sad reflection of your respect for your fellow humans. In fact, it is an astonishing statement which I think you should reconsider.
Regarding the example of agreement about what constitutes jam, I was correct in guessing you would attack the example rather than address the analogy. Having apparently no answer to my argument on consensus, you've simply paddled back up the river and said "unless my God writes the ethics, there can be no ethics". That is actually the kind of argument one would discourage in the nursery.
As to the first paragraph, earlier you claimed evidence that ethics could not be derived externally (that's transmission) due to the greater consensus on ethics than on the belief in God's existence. You created the antithesis.
As to the second point, the majority you mention cannot establish the wrongness of rape. No one has said that such a majority could not be found that would recognize that rape is wrong. In fact, if that's your only point, I agree with you. Such behavior is denounced universally, but the more fundamental issue is whether or not such agreement makes rape wrong. Rape is wrong whether or not you and I agree on the point.
You also seem to be confused about what it means to respect someone or a group. I can show respect regardless of whether or not I agree with them. My respect is not conditional upon my sublime thoughts (or lack thereof) about humanity. This is just another ethical principle derived from Christianity, a principle that should be taught to children and one that you apparently do not grasp.
As for your third paragraph, I did address it. You simply jumped to your characterization of my argument rather than dealing with what I actually said. Your analogy does not apply because it only deals with labeling objects. However in ethics, we are not merely labeling; we are labeling and judging behavior. Your analogy falls short.
Regardless of your view of the value of ethics being rooted in "divine commandments," they are preferable to "do this because the group says so." I'm sorry, but peer pressure on steroids will not do as an ethical framework.
When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive's garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion. Deuteronomy 21:10-14
Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city. Zechariah 14:1-2
Well, I can see that your knowledge about the Bible is improving, which appears to be better than your knowledge about evolution. But, I'm sure you'll agree that just quoting scripture won't get you very far on this forum.
Just reminding you of what your invisible super being thinks about rape. Where you get your ethics from.
Your ethical standards are atrocious. But I see you finally responded to something I said - and I suspect I know the good bok far better than you seem to.
@Bibowen - I disagree with you profoundly. You do not deny that you believe that only your God is the source of ethics, and without your God's ethics there can be no ethics.
When I meet such an entrenched wrongheadedness as that, I drop the conversation as pointless.
Enjoy your bread & jam. I recommend bramble. Good night
Took you that long to work it out? This one has an extremely low opinion of anyone who does not believe in the invisible super being. And is lying when he says he shows respect to some one regardless of whether he disagrees with them or not. Apparently lying is acceptable to the invisible super being and does not break their ethics. Another fine reason not to believe.
I do not understand why they cannot grasp that telling some one they are incapable of behaving in an ethical fashion or developing ethical standards unless they believe in the christian god is actually offensive to some of us.
He probably eats jelly not jam anyway..................
With your ethical system, you have no basis to call me "wrongheaded." My view might be wrong, but your view is irrelevant. Your view of ethics cannot surmount the problem that consensus is an inadequate ethical base. The fact is that what you call an ethical position really isn't an ethical position at all.
The wrong message to send children is that right and wrong are established by the group. We don't determine right and wrong: we recognize it. Your position on ethics is inadequate for the training of small children. The group, be it the playground circle, the thinktank, or the voters all have a responsibility to do what's right; they don't establish what is right.
Of course they do. Ethics do not come from anywhere but ourselves. If the group says it is OK - then it is OK - otherwise ethics would never have changed.
Example - slavery. Is that ethically acceptable according to your invisible super being or not?
I took what Paraglider stated as an issue for general discussion. Of course parents should have the right (unless they are abusing their children) to introduce their own children to their own ethical system or cultural faith system. Anything else--which you clearly hint at ("training of small children" - ALL small children?), would indeed be fascist indoctrination (you do not have the right to tell me, as a Buddhist, ie, how to raise and train my kid to believe in God as the source of ethical belief.)
Tolerant theists wouldn't want you 'on their side,' either.
@Bibowen - I've already said goodnight to this discussion. Until you demonstrate to me that you believe the ethics of Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists and Agnostics (and others) are at least as valid as the ethics of Christians, I can't see any reason to take you seriously. The world does not need supremacists who hold the magic key to ethics, morality or the pearly gates. The world needs peacemakers and consensual thinkers.
Blackcurrant runs a close second.
It is not incumbent upon me to defend every religion that you can conjure up or to give sight to the blind; that would take a miracle. You're making the claim that religous instruction for the young is somehow inappropriate. It's sufficient to show that unbelieving ethics are the ethics of the morally-impoverished.
We were talking about two senarios, which you created: one where God exists and one where he does not. An atheistic view (the second scanario you stated) cannot account for why anyone should do what you and I know to be right. It's not that you, I and many others don't recognize what is right. In fact, most people do. But the fact that we call them "right" does not make them so. If your ethical view is right, then any group that garners a sufficient majority determines right. The implications are that the failure of the Nazis (speaking of supremacists) was not in being evil genocidal maniacs, their failure was they didn't have enough people on their side.
I heard atheist Frank Zindler argue this exact position one time. When it was put to him why the Nazis were wrong, he said that the reason they were wrong was because they went against western democratic values. So, the implication of this view is that had the Nazis been trying to save the Jews and the western democracies had been trying to exterminate them, the Nazis would have been equally wrong because they were confronting the western consensus. So what we call "genocide" would be redefined by a mere shift in "agreement" among the nation-states.
I submit that that might make sense to an atheist, but such a view is morally-challenged. It condemns us to the whim of any crazed, meglomaniacal lunatic that can garner sufficient power to himself.
Finally, being a "peacemaker" or "consensus builder" are hardly adequate ethical positions. Hitler's idea of peace is "agree with me and submit." Given your ethical framework, what can you say against him, if he has the power? Also, the last thing we need in Nazi Germany or Kim's North Korea is a "consensual thinker": what we really need is Athanasius contra mundum.
Thanks for the advice on the jams. I don't think I've ever had those before; I've heard of blackcurrent. May be I had it when I was a boy.
effective training of young children hopefully would include helping a child learn how to think, how to utilize his 5 senses.
that would involve allowing the child to ask questions and asking questions of the child.
to tell a child what to think is not training. if a child is forced to follow religious training, it does nothing of real value if the child doesn't understand what he's doing. it's like brushing his teeth, it's a routine, a ritual. the child may understand it's a good idea to brush his teeth, but he doesn't really understand the concept of tooth decay.
it's fine to explain why mommy is praying or going to church, but it's not the parent's role to indoctrinate their children. a child is a separate individual, not something to be molded into whatever mom or dad want him to be.
I think as a parent, it is my obligation to teach my children, to the best of my ability, how to live and survive on their own. To accomplish this, I must instill in them as much of what I have learned from all of my own life experiences. Therefore, I could not allow them to wait until they understood tooth decay before starting them on a ritual of good dental hygiene. I consider it my duty to mold their character and their ethics in preparation for adulthood. This would include instructing my children about what I believe to be right and wrong even before they are able to understand why it are so. And, I do this knowing that, in time, it will become their obligation as adults to adjust what they have been taught according to their own conscience, and life experience, so they can teach and train their children for what may indeed be a different world then mine.
Tooth decay, fine. Right & wrong, fine. No-one is suggesting it is wrong to teach children hygiene or ethics. The issue of contention is religious ritual. Ethics need not be linked to religious ritual. In fact, any such link is more likely to confuse than clarify.
I, too, believe that teaching religious ritual should be separated from ethics. But, if I understand your premise, your intent is to exclude religious ritual in a child's development. On that point we can agree to disagree.
Q - I'm not as hard-line as that. I would certainly exclude religious ritual from public schools, but wouldn't presume to interfere with what happens in any private home, beyond saying (if asked) that I think instilling ritual, as distinct from letting young ones observe ritual, might not be a good idea. I wouldn't want it to become an area of legislation.
Everyone is born with a conscience whether they be a Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic or whatever. Christian belief is that conscience comes from God whether or not a person believes in God or not. I wouldn't doubt that other religions hold a similar belief.
Within this discussion I think that conscience that everyone is born with needs to be separated from the discussion on whether children should be brought up with religious beliefs or not. No matter what anyone believes regarding whether children should be brought up with religious beliefs parents do have the right and should have the right to bring their children up within a religious belief system. I believe children will gain from being brought up within a religious belief system, unless that religious belief system was something detrimental.
@Bibowen - you are floundering around, splashing in the same old dirty water. Your position is untenable because it is exclusive (but includes you of course).
I said before, your position is "If my God can't define ethics, there can be no ethics", a childish argument, however you dress it up. Playing the Hitler card is crass. I notice no-one is coming to defend your stance, even though there are many Christian people here.
You can characterize my position all you please but it won't cover the poverty of yours: you have an ethical framework that has vacated absolute standards of right and wrong for the consensus of the group.
I really hope you were trying to intimidate me by that line about no one rushing to my defense. You'd only be making my point that your ethic is the consensus of the mob.
No one agrees with you. Submit.
Such a view would never provide a child the moral resolve to stand against the evil in our world whether it's the lurking predator or the playground bully. When he grows up, he could never be a Martin Niemoller, the German pastor who would stand against Hitler and would provide one of the few internal resistances to Nazism.
A few posts back, you said (in essence) that you were done messing with me. If I were you, I'd stick with your original resolve before you further expose the vacuousness of your ethic.
Keep on repeating the same thing using slightly different words will not make it come true. Nice passive aggressive attack though- I assume this is acceptable behavior to the invisible super being?
I am still waiting to know if slavery is ethically acceptable to your invisible super being that tells you what is right and wrong.
Genetic manipulation of crops would be an interesting one and driving an automobile that uses large amounts of gasoline. What does he say about those things?
Entertains me that only one single solitary priest stood up against Hitler while the entire Catholic church backed him to hilt. The church of England and the British and US governments were "surprised" to discover what had been going on after the war. Wonderful display of ethics.
Ummmm - the religionist bought up Hitler. Guess you can only read stuff that disagrees with your invisible super being. I see that is ethically acceptable too. Great ethics your invisible friend gives you. Still - you don't have to follow them any way do you?
Seein as yo dun cepted jeebus .
It's OK. I don't mind sparing you a few more minutes
I don't try to intimidate people. That accusation reflects badly on you.
By 'the consensus of the group' we are not talking about me and a few mates in the pub. We are talking about the distillate of what has been agreed by non-psychopathic people from all cultures since the earliest recorded history. Your preference to ignore our common heritage and replace it instead by the ethics that you believe only your God can provide is in fact extremely parochial.
Your characterisation of our common heritage as 'the mob' smacks of elitism.
The human conscience is our own individual guidance for morals.
The simple fact that most people don't use their properly is because the don't feel the need to. This is where the problem lies.
FREE WILL thought allows one to push aside moral feelings emitting from your conscience. You consciously make a choice to do right or wrong.
With that said- I'm going to leave you the proper explanation.
Any chosen action that purposely BENEFITS the human organism or society is morally good and right.
Any chose action that purposely HARMS the human organism or society is morally bad and wrong.
These are absolutes and grounds for all ethical behavior. There is not a substitute.
Any and all emotion are amoral.
If you're not sure what 'amoral' means, then - it is not either, moral right or moral wrong.
Feelings and emotions, on the other hand, cannot be considered as standards, absolutes, or morals. A person's life-style, desires, needs, and preferences can vary greatly without altering that person's character or without making that person morally right or wrong. Still, moral absolutes do exist. And following or violating moral absolutes determines a person's character and self-esteem.
This should be common knowledge but isn't. Every person on the planet should be told that there are absolutes in life, grounded by science research of human beings and their minds ability. In the interests of society, it is YOUR responsibility or lack of, which demonstrates how much people really don't understand life.
As for children and religious beliefs- it isn't ethical to introduce any form of religion, purposely into their life. The child must make the choice on it's own, and isn't be bothered or pester, or forced to change their own beliefs. It's absurd and stunts a child's development.
@Bibowen et al
So you understand what I'm talking about, and to save you the trouble of reading my hubs on ethics, what follows is the code of ethics that I would like to see introduced in junior schools. Out of interest, what parts of it are unacceptable to you? It is in two parts: 3 essential axioms, then 9 guidelines.
Part One - The Knowledge
1. We share the Earth with our fellow Humans, with Animal life and with Plant life.
2. We are responsible first to each other and our future generations, then to all life on Earth.
3. Sometimes we are subject to natural forces beyond our control.
Part Two - The Code
1. Do not hurt, harm or abuse other people
2. Do not force your will on other people
3. Do not take what is not yours
4. Do not be devious, treacherous or deceitful
5. Do not be cruel to animals
6. Be moderate in your consumption
7. Try to be helpful to other people
8. Be generous with your ideas and talents
9. When misfortune occurs, do not give in to despair
These are excellent principles to live by and you are to be commended for promoting and practicing them.
Thanks, though my reason for posting them here was to reinforce my assertion that ethics that could be called humanist (though I don't call them that myself) are not in conflict with the ethical component of most major religions.
Yes, but if you will recall, this is a nonissue (at least with me). Earlier, I stated that most people do affirm principles of the kind you stated above, believer and unbeliever alike. Where I see our dividing line is that such guidelines are not right because of continual use throughout time or by agreement that they should be practiced. Their continual use across time and cultures might be good enough evidence as to their utility, but not to their rightness.
If they are seen to work, then they acquire their own authority. If they are seen not to work, then they will be changed, gradually, by the force of collective consensus.
The notion of absolute rightness is not necessary.
But can I take it that your statement of approval for my proposed code represents God's seal of approval? If so, we can proceed can't we? And if not, your channel of communication must be faulty.
I'm not sure how you get authority out of increased usefulness. Let's take slavery, for example. It has been a way of life for most of human history. As time progressed (I assume on your view), its authority grew as it was used longer and the human race increased in number. There was more of it; in the case of the American antebellum South, slavery got a "shot in the arm" after the invention of the cotton gin. So, it's authority, until relatively recently, would have been optimal.
It seems, then, that those that attacked it were just historical misfits. After all, slavery is useful (speaking of how it would have been viewed then) and would have been at the peak of its authority. Those that denounced slavery would be simply standing in the way of progress.
Those that denounced slavery, were they right or wrong? They were attacking a well-established institution. Furthermore, it appears that our modern denouncement of slavery is really only an indictment on its being antequated, on the order of poking fun at people because they still ride around in horse-n-buggy.
How can any future revival of slavery be denounced? Yes, the philosophy of liberation has provided a challenge to slavery, but it does not have the authority of slavery, which has been much more useful throughout human history given it's longevity and pervasive use.
Finally, some would say that slavery has not been eradicated, but only localized. The charge of "immorality" has been leveled against those that try to keep women subjucated in some Muslim states, the employment of labor in some "sweatshops," women who treat the fetus as "property," and zookeepers that imprison animals to be used in displays.
Do these accusations have merit or are they the products of parochials who are ignorantly going up against an authoritative institution?
But - they are not real ethics because the invisible super being didn't give them to us and we are therefore not obliged to follow them?
I am still keen to know about the slavery thing. is that OK with the invisible super being or not?
Oh, I don't know... Someone here might be accused of strawmanning with all the group talk:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m … _54574812/
It's either that, or some teachers should perhaps teach themselves.
*edit: But perhaps a concession has been made...thankfully.
@Lita - You've slightly lost me as to which post that was a reply to?
It's morning here again.
That was just a general response to what I saw as Bibowen building a strawman argument about group-think being 'right' as your position throughout this thread. I think he got the message.
And I wasn't exactly appealing to authority, either. It's just relatively common knowledge that ethics can be part of religion, but it is absolutely a separate realm of its own.
Slavery is still alive and going strong. Today, most just do it willingly and it is not subject to class, race, religion, gender or wealth.
Thy self is not to follow a false idol, thy self is to look inside(where GOD resides) and command thy own existence.
Learning is Knowledge, Knowledge is Power.
Understanding is Wisdom, Wisdom is Limitless.
When you combine them- You have Power Limitless, in essence- You have Limitless Power!
Be YOUR Own God!
Um... okay, not exactly what I was getting at. Not even in the same class of thought. But go Ray, be your own God! Woot!
@Bibowen - It's obvious to anyone here that you're still floundering around. Trying to recover from the indignity of having a rationalist demonstrate a code of ethics that you could not refute. Hurts, does it? Good night
I had provided just one example that seems to reveal a flaw in your reasoning about greater utility leading to ethical authority. Now, I know that snide remarks are easier than contending the point, but why don't you just demonstrate how my reasoning is flawed on this point? My ongoing contention with your ethical framework is that it cannot substantiate the good. My example of slavery was meant to illustrate that.
You seem to still be hung up on this idea that I think that unbelievers can't recognize ethics or be ethical? Where did you get this? One of my earlier posts on this thread indicates that I don't believe that. I'm sorry, but this dog just won't hunt.
As for your code of ethics, why should I want to refute it? If more people lived by those principles, the world would certainly be a better place. (BTW, I think you violated rule #8 and may be even rule #7).
I suppose one could argue around in circles, but I believe Paraglider demonstrated his point and you agreed and conceded. The initial premise was NOT based on group acceptance of any cultural right and wrong, but rather the idea that ethics can stand alone from religion (and you seem very set on a certain set of Christian religious beliefs).
More interesting is the reason that necessitates you to keep arguing here (points which, btw, could be refuted from a solely ethical standpoint and which does not require the belief in a specific God.) You bring up good points...and of course they are valid, but not really at issue here.
"Ethics, which is a major branch of philosophy, encompasses right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong. Most religions have an ethical COMPONENT, often derived from purported supernatural revelation or guidance."
See contents on:
# 1 Buddhist ethics
# 2 Christian ethics
# 3 Confucian ethics
* 3.1 Buddhist influence
# 4 Daoist ethics
# 5 Hindu ethics
# 6 Islamic ethics
# 7 Jain ethics
# 8 Jewish ethics
* 8.1 Hellenistic influence
# 9 LaVeyan Satanist ethics
* 9.1 The Nine Satanic Sins
# 10 Neopagan ethics
* 10.1 Germanic Neopagan ethics
# 11 Scientology ethics
* 11.1 Wiccan ethics
# 12 Secular ethics
# 13 Shinto ethics
# 14 Western Ethics influenced by the Bible
But of course, I recognize you want to argue with Paraglider only, , which I'm actually glad of.
Lita - as you can probably see, I'm losing patience with Bibowen's pettiness. Thanks for injecting a voice of reason
Bibowen - regarding slavery (though you should have been able to think this out for yourself) -
There were more slaves than slave owners.
The slaves were people too.
They did not approve of slavery.
Therefore the relevant majority was opposed to slavery.
But the slaves were not asked for their views.
The will of slave owners was imposed on them.
That was not very nice of the slave owners.
So, we are counting the utility of each person? I guess there is no moral condemnation of slavery....The great failure of slavery was in not keeping the number of slaves lower than the owner class...
Why should an atheist care about any of the moralizing that you have stated above? You might protest his enslaving others, but what's your response when he tells you, "My utility counts more because I'm packing the firearms and you’re not?"
What will you tell him then....It's not nice?
"It's not nice" is what we reserve to tell my toddler that he should not throw food at the table.
The ethic you described above will work great in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. But it won't work in the real world. An ethic has to do more than just treat people "nicely." It has to equip people to go into the public and confront many ethical dilemmas.
I'm sorry, but it's still my judgment that your ethic is groundless. Yes, your rules of conduct are admirable. But why should anyone be compelled to submit to the rules you prescribe? They do not have to be obeyed; they are not binding. The Pol Pots of the world are not going to be constrained by your "it's nice to be nice" ethic, nor is anyone going to have the moral resolve to oppose him given your ethic because your ethic lacks necessity. Pol Pot does not have to be opposed. His oppression is just the way the world is.
I think you've been given sufficient time to convey the basis of your ethics, but if this is all you have to offer as an ethic, then my opinion is that you are incapable of providing an adequate ethic for children and your suggestion that their religious instruction should be delayed is groundless, because your ethic is, again, groundless.
I hate to interrupt this informative discussion with a question but I beg your indulgence. (No ecclesiastical meaning intended.)
Should I understand your statement above to means you believe that an ethic is groundless if it does not compel anyone to submit, if it is not binding, and/or if it doesn’t force others to follow it? In other words, your words, “it's still my judgment that your ethic is groundless. ... why should anyone be compelled to submit to the rules you prescribe? They do not have to be obeyed; they are not binding.”
For a standard of ethics to be effective, isn’t it necessary that the subscribers agree on its merits and comply voluntary?
Let me take your last comment first. The short answer is "no." Let's take the prohibition against rape for example (I don't pick that example to be provocative, just that it's likely that everyone reading this would agree that it's immoral and that any code of ethics should prohibit it). It would be better if everyone agreed that it was wrong, or were sufficiently self-disciplined to control themselves from committing such an act. Our experiences are that there are some people that do not and are not. So there are people that have that rule imposed upon them. They have to comply with it "or else." I would rather have their agreement (and their cooperation), but I'm not going to shrink from the moral imperative just because they don't agree. So, I don't think it's "necessary" to have everyone's agreement, but I would agree that it would be preferable.
Now, let me take it a step further and convey why I have a problem with the kind of ethical framework that Paraglider advocates. It's not that he doesn't have some good principles to live by; he actually does and I applaud him for living by such a code. Furthermore, I applaud the desire to promote cooperation with ethical principles by the widest agreement possible. The problem is that he wants to further say (if I understand him correctly) that it's the agreement to prohibit rape that makes it ethical and that rape has become more unethical as time has passed and has been further agreed upon. The social utility of the prohibition against rape has increased.
But, let's say that history proceeded differently and rape was deemed acceptable. The implication of Parglider's view is that had rape been deemed socially advantageous and deemed useful to the most people (or to the most powerful) then rape would be equally ethical because it was established to be so over a long period time as it came to be accepted by more cultures.
I think that that view is dangerous to teach to any child (or anyone for that matter). Rape is immoral even if no one agreed that it was. It's "rightness" or "wrongness" is not predicated upon agreement. Furthermore it has not become "more unethical" as time proceeded; rape was just as wrong 2000 years ago as it is today. What I gather Paraglider is doing is reducing such prohibitions to being "socially disadvantageous," kind of like using the wrong fork at a fine dinner.
Now your first question. In going back over my statement that you quote, I did not state it as concisely as I could have. It can be better stated with leaving out the words “be compelled to” so that it reads this way…
“it's still my judgment that your ethic is groundless. ...why should anyone submit to the rules you prescribe? They do not have to be obeyed; they are not binding.”
After the rewording, do you still have a question?
BTW, on the indulgences, you couldn't have gotten one today anyway. I only grant them from my booth "Bones to Pick" which I have set up at the local Flea Market. There I sell a fine selection of relics. But I only issue indulgences on Fridays from 8:00-5:00 as I have found that's when they are in greatest demand--most folks want an ample supply as they go into the weekend....
What rules are you guys talking about? No one has to do anything they don't want to do, all rules and laws and codes of ethics are not binding, they don't have to be obeyed, you don't have to submit to them.
Code of ethics:
A man is dying, you cannot help him, no amount of medical treatment is going to save him. He is suffering in anguish. What do you do?
Morally, it would be wrong to put the guy out of his misery.
Ethically, it would be humane to both him and his family to end his suffering. A family should not have to suffer the consequences of debt that will destroy the livelihood of his living family... again, there is nothing in the world that will save this guy. It would (IMO) to prolong the suffering of both as well.
You used rape as an example.
Morally is is wrong to rape. You say submit. So the person being rapped submits. According to your religious moral views, it would then be wrong for her to take it...she would be called a whore. BTW, your god is the one that suggest this. Then after she is raped, by submission. The criminal gets away with it and the woman suffers the rest of her life.
I don't know if rape falls into the ethics category. What you do to someone who commits the crime would... so I think.
Thank you for your detailed reply to my question while in the throes of a much deeper discourse. I was at first amused that you had chosen to respond to me from the bottom up. But, I laughed out loud when I realized I also needed to address your comment from the bottom up.
Like I said, I intended no ecclesiastical meaning, but since you picked up on it, I regret that Fridays from 8:00-5:00 does not work for me since I’ll be eating most of the day. You see, I am on a modified vegetarian diet and Friday is the only day of the week on which I can eat meat.
Eureka! When you restate those sentences after omitting “be compelled to”, you have achieved two major goals for me: (1) your words now apply concisely to my concept of ethics, and (2) you gave me insight to how my ethics differ from yours.
My concept of ethics is, like me, rather simple and it does not need to use examples like rape and slavery for clarification. My ethics are the end product of applying my intellect to my conscience in a manner that distills from the sum total of my knowledge and experience a set of standards that I determine will guide my actions. Since my ethics are the grist of my intellect, my conscience, my knowledge, and my experiences, they are, therefore, unique to me and to none other. Hence, if I may use your words to complete the description of my ethics, they are not “groundless”, “they do not have to be obeyed; they are not binding,” and the only one who needs to “submit to the rules ...prescribed” is I.
Now, your concept of ethics seems to be a bit different than mine. As I read you, your ethics need to “constrain” “the Pol Pots of the world,” they must provide anyone with “the moral resolve to oppose him,” and, finally, they must not “lack necessity”. Here, I have taken great care to use your words without damaging your intended meaning by rearranging them out of context. Hence, if this view is close to your own, then I must conclude that your ethics are not guidelines but laws, i.e. rules of conduct established by some authority that are expected to be followed. Guidelines, I submit, have intent and purpose. Laws, on the other hand, have cause and effect. My ethics are voluntary and they guide me in attaining my desired ends. Your ethics are to apply to everyone without exception, they assign consequences for certain actions, and they imply justification for compelling compliance. (I didn’t use quotes because, this time, “compelling” is my word and not yours. ) Finally, in your world I am required to have the same ethics that you have. In my world, my standards will be different than yours. And in this world, you and I can not discuss ethics much further because we seem to have different meanings for the word.
Thanks for sharing your ideas. I have learned from them. BTW, if you are ever looking for a really old, authentic relic for your booth let me know. I may be available.
I'm starting to take a liking to you I think you could disagree with most anyone, and then, at least from your end, still play nicely with them at recess.
Thanks, but I was earlier accused of advocating slavery, so it wouldn't be a good idea for me to traffic in live relics. Thanks just the same.
I’m starting from the bottom-up again (why do I do that?!). Here I am responding to your view of my ethic:
1. I don’t require that everyone share my “code of conduct” on all matters. There are many things that I do that are an application of principle. For example, it’s good to be organized and I will apply that differently based on the kind of life I live, career I choose, etc. But I don’t expect everyone to organize as I do. I think that everyone should secure their property: some people do that by being armed to the hilt; others find other ways to secure their family and possessions. I see no moral mandate on how to proceed. I think this falls under your heading of “guidelines.”
2. But, there are some things we must agree on. It’s wrong to torture children for pleasure and rape is not permitted. Such examples are not merely illustrative BTW: they provide real-world conditions in which our ethics apply. They are laws, and I would agree with you that they are not “guidelines.” To call them such would be to trivialize them. A guideline in raising children might be “use your manners at the dinner table.” Those “manners” are behaviors that manifest a respect for others. But sometimes, I might relax those rules depending upon the social setting (like the child’s birthday party, for example). “Bedtime” would be another example.
However, matters, such as murder, rape, and kidnapping are in a different venue. The prohibition against these acts is a rule. I never relax the prohibition on murder. So, I would modify your statement about my position in saying that some of the features of my ethic are laws and some are not. And, yes, we are going to have to agree on those above prohibitions or there’s going to be a confrontation. They’re the nonnegotiables. They possess necessity. We must obey them or else.
You really are very, very good at turning the conversation away from the subject at hand. Indoctrinating children into ridiculous belief systems before they are able to make an informed choice or even understand what they are being indoctrinated into (child abuse).
So - now we agree that your invisible super being finds child abuse acceptable, but I fail to see how this supports your assertion that your ethics are the only ones acceptable because they come from an invisible super being.
I also do not understand why He thinks child abuse is acceptable. Why is this OK?
This is one of those non-negotiables.
You must stop abusing children or else.
So, if I understand you correctly, your ethic is preoccupied with a code of conduct that is centered on your own experiences and intellect. I'm inclined to agree with you in many respects, that they need not be obeyed and that they are not binding, although I'm not sure why anyone would need to submit to them, even you. In fact, since you created them, I don't see how it is that you are engaging in any act of submission. After all, what is the difference between your saying "I submit" and "I will"? It seems to me that submission involves some law (as you mentioned last time) that is established prior to our choice to submit.
Since the topic of this thread is the education of young children, is this how you would instruct young children? "You decide what is right and wrong for you. Use your own experiences and intellect to determine what is right."
Now you seem to have an aversion to creating scenarios or examples to test an ethic (you stated "My concept of ethics is, like me, rather simple and it does not need to use examples like rape and slavery for clarification."). But the purpose of the examples are not just for simplifying what is otherwise a complex or dense subject. I use them a lot to test how a general description of an ethic (like yours) will hold up in the real world. So I am not using them for simplification when I ask you if you see any differences in the following decisions:
1. His experiences and intellect tell him that the best course of action is to go to the streets of Calcutta to help alleviate suffering and want in that area.
2. Her experiences and intellect tell her that she should seek to raise awareness for AIDS.
3. His experiences and intellect tell him that the Jews are an inferior people and that he should help the Nazis bring them under the fascist boot.
4. Her experiences and intellect tell her that she should strive to be the best mother and wife that she can possibly be.
5. His experiences and intellect tell him that abortion is murder and that he should seek to stop abortion doctors by any means possible.
6. Her experiences and intellect tell her that we are not alone in this universe and that extraterrestrials have visited our planet. She then decides to dedicate her life to telling others of the Visitation, no matter if she is called "crazy as a loon" for doing so.
For each of the six people above, they develop a code based on their own reasoning which emanates from their own frame of reference.
Is each of these six approaches valid since they employ the approach you take? I would think the answer is "no" since you said that your ethic is not binding on others. If you say that some reasonings are valid while some are not, on what do you base this?
I think I would say that you understand me correctly IF you see that my ethic IS a code of conduct DERIVED from applying my intellect and conscience to my accumulated knowledge and experience. I totally agree that I do not submit to them and using the word in my description was inaccurate. In fact, no one is compelled to submit to my code of conduct. Indeed, they need not be obeyed and they are not binding. Lacking these three characteristics does set my ethics apart from yours since you believe they are necessary to prevent an ethic from being “groundless”. “It's still my judgment that your ethic is groundless....why should anyone be compelled to submit to the rules you prescribe? They do not have to be obeyed; they are not binding,” is what you said.
I apologize to you for going off topic to explore someone else’s ideas about ethics. I am happy to refocus on the education of children and the value of faith based rituals in this process.
My short answer is “no” and my long answer is only a condensation of a much greater, on-going dialog between me and MY children. It is not meant to apply to the education and instruction of ALL children:
“Ultimately, you will decide what is right and wrong for you. In preparation, develop your intellect and use it to form a reliable conscience that is capable of providing you with the judgment and the skills needed to do this on your own. Until then, I will augment your intellect, conscience, knowledge and experiences from my own until yours are enough.”
This brings me to the BIBOWEN CHALLENGE!
I admit that it is not clear to me how these scenarios relate to teaching religious ritual to children so I can not respond to you from that perspective. While I see similarities and differences, they do not relate to the topic. If I’m missing something, feel free to point it out.
Wow, I would have told my toddler that I am not her slave and if she chooses to throw food at the table she will have to clean it up.
Bibowen, your thoughts suggest that you are pro slavery. Doesn't matter how you disguise your reasoning, what you present to Para is a form of slavery.
submit or suffer the consequences
So while I was ignored, everyone is a slave to something or someone... our governments, our religions, the work place, the economy, the environment etc...
Try to walk away from it and see what happens.
Bibowen - I am mightily impressed with the power with which you defend your irrational beliefs. And really, really impressed with your willful avoidance of the question.
Thank you for reminding me why I despise your religion and the "ethics," it teaches.
2. Defend the faith regardless
3. What is best for your children
In order of preference.
Seriously - you have managed to twist the conversation away from whether it is reasonable and for the benefit of the child to teach it religious rituals it cannot understand, that are designed to ingrain an irrational, blind belief, before the child is of an age to make rational decisions.
And have made it clear that this is for your benefit. Because you think that this is the only way to scare a child into believing the garbage you believe. And there can not be any ethics without instructions from the super being.
Sadly - history does not demonstrate strong Christian ethics.
And you have been presented with a strong code of ethics that you would refuse to follow because the invisible super being did not give them to you. Irony anyone?......
And you still have not answered my question:
Is slavery ethically acceptable to the invisible super being or not?
@Bibowen - you haven't moved an inch. Your view is still that only your God is the source of ethics.
You are engaging in silly entrapment games because you do not like to admit that ethics might just come from other sources. I see no reason to play these games.
And yes, I said 'that was not very nice of the slave owners' in fun, to try to get it through to you that your entrapment games are silly.
And to show some irritation at your futile attempts to link my ethics first to Nazism then to slavery. That's not very nice either. Unchristian, even.
Read what Q said about compulsion. He's right. Guidelines are just that - guidelines, not laws.
Not all ethics are binded to law, the ones that are protect us from many forms of abuse and danger. The ones that aren't are there for sake of social fairness, to create boundries, that within, a reasonable person can feel safe from abuse.
No one has to do anything thats why we have prisons and fines. If you think the ethic doesn't apply to you or you can work your way around it, then for some thats a reason to act. The better question is,"Do you have a conscious?", or,"Do you know right from wrong?".
Religion has defined and put into print what is right and what is wrong. Would people still do the right thing without it? Some would. The law and it's consequences for breaking the ethical rules are what controls most and our laws are based on Judeao/Christian values.
So whether you believe in God or not his book, The Bible, is a guide on how we should treat each other. If you study history you'll see the strongest made the rules and that meant you could do pretty much what you wanted with out too many consequences and this led to slavery of all forms. It also led to many abuses of women for whatever reason.
As a human you have the right to believe what ever you want but your rights end where anothers begin. So any conclusion you draw from The Bible is your right but it's not your right to discount what it means to someone else.
@Bibowen - I suggest you refrain from attempting to paraphrase me to others, since it is clear you have not understood anything I have said.
I would not be so kind.
So - is slavery ethically acceptable to the invisible super being or not? did we ever find that out?
What I found very telling was how in trying to show that a majority once condoned slavery, he failed to notice that he hadn't counted the votes of the slaves.
I think Q's thread established that the bible does condone (though does not necessarily advocate) slavery.
But how is counting the votes of the slaves "necessary" in a world without God and absolute standards of right and wrong? You act as if counting the votes is "necessary" but it's not. We don't count the desires of all females in matters pertaining to abortion, namely, those girls that are being aborted. The power of the mother and the doctor that assists in the abortion trumps the desire of the aborted female. Most atheists are not bothered by this.
Besides, this sluff off you offer fails to address how your view about the progression of ethics stands up to one of the most important dynamics in recent history, namely, the progress toward emancipation. Your view fails to give a true picture of how the ethics of emancipation proceeded and, more importantly, it fails to provide any rationale for why we should view the ethics of emancipation as "progress" beyond the fact that it happened recently in history. Your explanation only gives us ethical "change" but is that change a step forward? It appears to offer no such answer because it appears to be an ethic lacking a moral dimension.
Wow. Paraglider. Why even respond to this guy anymore? Doesn't matter what you think. More so, it doesn't matter what women think. No wonder I was completely ignored. I am a female. Females don't count.
The more I hear about peoples understanding about Christianity and their god the more I believe that their god does exist... as the devil that is.
Bibowen, make any offerings lately? Jump off a mountain without a rope. I would like to see that. When you do, come back and tell us all about it!
ethic does not apply to the superior one
I mean God, of course.
sounds like the double standard life already has.
Didn't quite get your mening, but it was one more of my unfructuous attempts to bring the debate to man's level.
Get it out of absurd abstractions no one here knows how to put upright.
Include me in that - what do you mean by 'put upright'?
I don't really know if I include you. I haven't study your writings thouroughly. Maybe I'd not be capable. And I don't think I will.
I read you with pleasure in the past and it seems to me that your expression has the necessary balance for these kind of subjects (by opposition to the over excited ones I've seen here).
I'm sorry, it's maybe an european limitation but I'm always amazed about these other time subject discussions.
Back to topic, Paraglider, I don't have the hubris to claim to my children that my husband and I feed, clothe, and warm them entirely on our own. We believe that we depend on God's providence for the means to do that.
That said, if parents believe it's their responsibility to teach their children right from wrong, and they believe God exists, provides, and deserves all due credit, they would be remiss in their parental responsibilities to not teach their children accordingly.
I wouldn't demand atheist parents raise their children any differently. Sure, it's "indoctrination," but it's not a bad thing.
So, why does God look after you and yours but ignore the plight of millions in Bangladesh (to name just one stricken city)?
Because of mans corruption, not God's. They have failed to educate and train themselves for a modern world. They have followed old practices because they don't know anything different. Their leaders benefit from an uneducated underclass so they see no reason to change. They have no moral code to keep greed in check.
So, when a tsunami floods the land and sours it with salt, so nothing will grow - when as a result, the people have no choice but leave the land and move to the vastly overcrowded city of Dhaka - when their ancient agrarian skills cannot be applied in an urban landscape and they are forced to scrape a living on the streets in the slum districts - when their innocent children catch diseases such as cholera and dysentery from the foul flood waters in the city - then God ignores the poor brats and lets them die because of man's corruption?? How heartless can you be?
I'm not heartless at all! What have their leaders done for them? Weren't they part of India? Wouldn't their options be better had they had the ability to access India? Do they have birth control? How are they managing the resources they have and who ensures an equal distribution of wealth? Weren't they part of the commonwealth and didn't they choose independance over a relationship with Britain? It seems they've had choices but they chose wrong. India seems to have realized that they have to move forward and they're getting there. I don't see why Bangladesh can't follow suit and have you lodged these same accusations at the Bangladesh officials? Why should we help anyone if it's not appreciated, they feel we owe them and they never remember who helped them when their on an anti-American rant. What are doing to bring to the attention of the third world countries that bad mouthing the most charitable country in the history of the world is stupid and not in their best interest. What have you done?
Maybe telling nice tales to children while they are in their first years is a good thing.
It might be structuring to a young evolving mind, to go through a phase of mathaphysical beliefs.
Just like man at the time he found out that rolling was better than pushing.
I mean all of us believed in Santa Claus up to a certain age...
School brings maturity. It's supposed to. Maturity that we make our best to adapt to the child's physiological development.
And as the child becomes adult he spontaneously frees himself from mataphysical ages and becomes a thinker by himself.
@Zampano - Really, I wasn't trying to be funny. I honestly don't know the expression 'put upright' - so I just wondered what you meant by it?
Paraglider wrote So, why does God look after you and yours but ignore the plight of millions in Bangladesh (to name just one stricken city)?
When I saw my adult children making financial mistakes that causes them to come to daddy for money, I would tell them that they can not have the money unless they take and keep the advice that comes with it. I got that idea from God; God helps in a similar fashion.
There are no adult children; there are adults. And here's what you could have got from God, if you'd read your book:
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Perhaps you have created a god in your own image?
I'm sorry I've interfered.
It gets me somewhat hysterical, sometimes.
Sometimes it seems to me that we're playing a blitz dart game and everyone is aiming at the wall.
It is very posible if not probibable that quit some time ago God said;... OK, ... do it your way... you don't need me.
He still speaks to some, watches over them. But there is only so much that he can do without infringing upon the free will of the masses.
Majority rules on earth. When the majority invites the creator to intervein, I think that he will. Unfortunately it is going to get a lot worse around the world and here at home, before the majority will do that. But I do not think that day is that far into the future.
I have read a lot of your posts, but do not recall if you are atheists. If you are atheist then we only have ourselves to blame for all of the hunger and misery in the world. If you believe in a higher power then he is difficult to understand.
I am a rationalist (the thinking wing of agnosticism). The children with dysentery do not have themselves to blame. The idea that there is a God who cares for relatively well to do Americans but lets millions of poor Bangladeshi kids die is just silly.
I just do not think that we can blame a god for the hungry children in Bangladesh when there are (how many?) millionaires and billionaires around the world. The selfishness and greed of mankind causes all the hunger and misfortune around the world.
I know nothing but I do believe that God has set a date for the end of such behavior. And I also believe that that date is coming soon.
So you think God just gave it to us? We didn't have to take the abilities he gave us and put them to work? I feel for the children but we have the same problems in our inner cities. You can give anything you want but you have to break the cycle of poverty and you have to do it for your self. We have minorities in this country who've never worked a day in their lives and generation after generation all the money invested hasn't provided any significant result. You teach people how to fish, you don't give them fish.
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